The Albany Steam Station, once owned and operated by Niagara Mohawk Corporation, was established in 1952 in Glenmont, New York, as a coal-fired station. The four 376 megawatt units were converted to burn oil in 1970. In 1981, the units were once again converted to burn natural gas as well, which ultimately raised the plant’s output capacity to 400 megawatts. The four units were housed in one building served by two control rooms. PSEG acquired the station from Niagara Mohawk in 2000, and it is presently known as the Bethlehem Energy Center. The Albany Steam Station consisted of equipment that generated heat in order to produce electricity. Up until the mid-1970’s, asbestos was used extensively in the utility industry as insulation for high-heat temperature equipment, such as turbines, large boilers, pumps, steam lines and valves. Inhaling dust and particles from the application, maintenance and removal of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing mesothelioma or lung cancer.
The Albany Steam station was insulated with asbestos-containing materials in order to contain heat and provide a stable internal temperature within the steam system. Asbestos block insulation was applied to a variety of equipment, and on occasion, the block insulation was cut prior to its application, which emitted asbestos dust and fibers into the air. Asbestos-containing insulating cement and pipe covering were applied to pipes and steam lines. Asbestos gaskets and packing material could be found in valves and pumps throughout the steam system. Equipment at the steam station was often disrupted by power station laborers because of the constant need to maintain and update dated equipment, which required the removal and application of asbestos materials. This process exposed workers to asbestos dust, which filled the air. Even laborers who did not handle asbestos-containing materials, may have been exposed to dust and fibers emitted from maintenance procedures.
Most workers were not aware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and carried on their work without masks or protective gear. Even workers who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer. The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. If you or a loved one worked at the Albany Steam Station and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free case evaluation.